China’s science and tech minister calls on private enterprises to develop ‘core technologies’

  • China has stepped up the call for self-reliance in technology amid mounting trade conflict with the US
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 3:10pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 3:10pm

China’s science and technology minister has urged the country’s private enterprises to make full use of supportive policies and subsidies to help accelerate the development of core technology in aid of the nation’s development.

“The private economy is a crucial part of China’s economic development,” Wang Zhigang, minister at the Ministry of Science and Technology, said at a conference in Beijing on Sunday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

“Encouraging and supporting the development of private technology enterprises has always been an important part of science and technology professionals' work.”

China can’t escape US tech dependence, but neither can the world

China has made the development of core technologies a top priority, and the country’s top leadership has urged top scientists, engineers and private businesses to help build the nation into a global hi-tech leader.

The government has stepped up the rallying call as pressure mounts from the US over China’s ambitions to move up the industrial technology chain.

The mission to achieve self-reliance took on increased urgency after a ban last year on the sale of American technology to ZTE crippled the Chinese telecom network gear maker and exposed the country’s dependence on US technology.

Beyond financial support for tech R&D, the ministry will also help train talent for private businesses, Wang said in his Sunday speech according to Xinhua.

Private businesses like Huawei Technologies and Alibaba Group are investing heavily in semiconductors, which go into and power everything from smartphones to smart speakers to the most advanced super computers and driverless cars.

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The economic contribution of private businesses accounted for nearly two-thirds of China’s growth and nearly 90 per cent of its new urban jobs in 2017.

Chinese policymakers will step up support for the private sector in 2019, with the State Council announcing a series of measures for the firms in late December, including more tax cuts, faster review of private companies’ IPOs and refinancing applications.

Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.